For some reason I’ve always had a soft spot for the American Fender Highway 1 Strat – both the original version and this later version with the large 70’s style headstock – It has always been a challenge to deliver a credible, yet more budget priced, USA model, that sat below the price of the best selling AM Strat Standard – So with that in mind I always believe the Highway 1 has a lot going for it – Looking at this customised 2010 model, I always felt that whatever shortfalls the Highway 1 had going for it, the chassis was more than credible, to allow various upgrades to deliver a significant playing performance – Its no use upgrading a poor guitar with top quality USA pick-ups and trem systems, as any improvement will be minimal – So yes I believe the Highway 1 is an ideal candidate for such performance enhancing mods – What makes this guitar a more attractive package is that it has all been done for you
So let me update you, in no particular order, with a host of info regarding this 2010 Highway 1 :
- DiMarzio DP422 Virtual Solo Hum Cancelling neck pick-up with alnico 5 magnets
- Dimarzio DP420 Virtual Solo Hum cancelling middle pick-up – again alnico 5 magnets
- DiMarzio Paul Gilbert Injector bridge humbucker
- 5 way switch
- Master volume pot + Tone neck + Tone bridge – so similar tone system to the Eric Johnson Strat – hence no tone pot for the middle pick-up – This no load option on the middle pick-up ensures crisp ‘out of phase’ voices on position 2 + 4 of the 5 way switch – A subtle yet effective variation
- Blade Runner trem system – I can talk for a while about the merits of this trem system, but best to click here and look at any additional info on the Blade Runner web site
Regular features of the Highway include
- ‘flat’ satin nitro finish
- Marginaly wider Strat nut width
- Jumbo frets – polished and dressed
- Re-strung and set-up with 10’s and a slick action
- Satin finish on the rear of the maple neck for that ‘played in from day one’ feel
- Trem currently set flat to the belly of the alder body for additional resonance, but I can edit this as required – So down pitch only as it stands
Condition wise it is fairly clean – Nothing nasty regarding previous signs of use, but you can find a few light surface grazes to the top surface of the thin nitro finish – So a touch of played in character, so you can use it as a work horse and not have to give it the kids glove treatment – Re-strung and set-up with a new set of 10’s and a fluid playing action – Includes a good quality gig bag
Tonal character – thanks to a set of Dimarzio pick-ups, this Strat tends to suit a player looking who is into classic overdriven amp settings for classic rock etc – It is not that you can’t get a decent clean voice from it, as you can, but it is not really the ideal candidate for the vintage purist – But for rock orientated players it is great, especially if you don’t want any additional back ground noise and hum – The clean tones are credible, so if you need to delve into such settings from time to time it won’t let you down – But from bone crunching riffs and chords to sreamin’ demon lead licks, it is a very handy Strat – Plenty of clarity, with tight lows, good body in the mid range and highs that are crisp, smooth and warm without sounding shrill like – The volume pot has enough about it to control the overdriven levels, from full on to more subtle
At £579 it is a very credible Strat with some good mods on it – So much so that I’ve debated about stripping it down and selling it as parts
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